Prevention Wins In 2010 Election

November 3, 2010


I was heartened to see the outcome of several ballot measures that could have had a serious negative impact on teen substance abuse.

In Oregon, voters rejected Ballot Measure 74, which would have created a system of unlimited dispensaries for medical marijuana. Proponents said it would help patients get their marijuana. Opponents said it would raise the prices for patients significantly, exempt dispensary operators and their staff from any prosecution, create major money generating operations, all the while it would increase the availability to vulnerable youth.

California voters on Tuesday rejected a ballot measure that would have made it the first state to legalize the personal use and possession of marijuana.

In Washington state, the voters look to have turned down two initiatives that would privatize liquor sales and overhaul beer- and wine-distribution rules. Had they passed, the number of alcohol outlets in the state would have increased ten-fold.  Again, the issue is ready availability to youth as well as problem drinkers.

A defeat for those measures is a win for our youth and a win for prevention.

– Tom


A Rare Chance to Stop an Epidemic Before It Gets Out of Hand

September 27, 2010


In the field of drug abuse prevention we’re always playing “catch-up” – tackling seemingly unstoppable juggernauts that have years of momentum. We almost never have a chance to get ahead of an emerging drug of abuse.

We have that opportunity now.

“Synthetic marijuana,” sold under various names, like “K2” and “Spice,” is quickly establishing a foothold among our Nation’s youth. At Oregon Partnership we recently received a call from a mother whose son woke her up in the middle of the night, screaming, convulsing and hallucinating from smoking synthetic marijuana. At the emergency room his heart was racing, his breathing was labored and he was begging his mother “Please don’t let me die!”

Synthetic Marijuana is cheap. It’s undetectable by traditional marijuana (THC) screening methods. And, in most states, it’s legal. In fact, youth refer to it as “legal marijuana” and word is spreading quickly that it defies the usual detection screenings.

It is sold in head shops and hookah stores as incense with a broad wink and a note that it’s “not for human consumption.” But people, seeking a high, are smoking it, and some have been showing up in emergency rooms with agitation, hallucinations, vomiting, high blood pressure and elevated heart rates. One of the chemical compounds sprayed on synthetic marijuana – JWH-018 – binds with the brain’s receptors that bind THC, but at four to five times the impact of THC.

Several countries, including Britain, France and Germany have banned K2 and similar products. Additionally, nine states have also banned these products and several others have legislation in development to ban them.

We need to seize the opportunity to get ahead of this problem by taking similar action across the United States.

– Tom


Teens craft films to address issues in the Portland Community

September 3, 2010

This summer I had the wonderful opportunity to work with talented, creative, passionate and open-minded  teens who want to give back to their communities.

Teens met regularly to discuss the issues affecting the Portland community and then created short films to share what they learned with the public. The films premiere this month.

Students Creating Entertainment for Neighborhood Empowerment (SCENE) is as unique as the youth who named the summer program. The SCENE team was made up not only of excellent students, but a wonderful collaboration between several organizations that share their passion to give back to the community through youth and make positive impressions on them. For example, the Portland Police Bureau has developed an solid relationship with the SCENE teens who are now committed to saying a friendly “Hello” to all police officers they see in passing.

The teens not only learned the issues affecting the Portland community through weekly curriculum, but learned how to develop their ideas into short films from an exceptional team of film makers from Portland Community Media. The SCENE teens also learned how to channel their artistic traits with the help of the FreeArts team.

Most people might imagine a group of teens sitting in a summer , heads in their books or looking out the window at the weather. Let me dispel that, these teens were fully engaged and the summer was a blast! The SCENE team interviewed people on the streets, enjoyed great food during social time, learned about drug prevention, developed relationships with community members and made new friends with students from other schools.

SCENE is  one of the best projects I have had the pleasure of being a part of and I look forward to seeing the SCENE team again!

– Angela


So what WILL be the effects of legalizing marijuana? Not good.

July 14, 2010

Good article in the Sacramento Bee about a RAND study on the effects of legalizing marijuana in California…

http://www.sacbee.com/2010/07/08/2875944/rand-marijuana.html


Repeal Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act

November 5, 2009

 

 

  For those who believe the Oregon medical marijuana program is out of control, there’s a move afoot to get it on the 2010 ballot…

Initiative #32 repeals the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act and replaces it with a state-
subsidized program providing prescriptions using cannabinoids, synthetic cannabinoids,
and cannabinoid derivatives for persons with diagnosed debilitating medical conditions
if such prescriptions are not covered by insurance.

 

The Department of Human Services shall establish program rules including

1.      independent medical exam at state’s expense if eligibility of the program
must be determined

2.      establish the standards for determining validity of participants’ application
based on a medically reasonable diagnosis and necessity of prescription
for treatment of diagnosed debilitating medical condition

3.      establish participation requirements including applicants to be legal Oregon
resident for one year prior to application  

4.      require attending physician to monitor participants’ use in same manner as
a controlled substance

5.      define “attending physician”, “controlled substance”, and “diagnosed
debilitating medical condition”, and

6.      invalidate current medical marijuana cards on March 31, 2011


Marijuana Harmless? Think Again.

October 28, 2009

It’s enough to get real about the effects of marijuana.

http://www.orpartnership.org/web/PDFs/clin_toxicol_47_517_2009.pdf


Quiting Pot Smoking Not Always Easy According to Study

May 16, 2008

A study of heavy marijuana users found that about one-third reported resuming use of the drug to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms, according to researcher David Gorelick, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“Heavy pot users should be aware that they may experience a withdrawal syndrome that will make them uncomfortable when they try to quit,” he said.

WebMD reported May 7 that Gorelick said at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association that the study involving about 500 heavy, long-term marijuana users — about a quarter of whom reported smoking marijuana more than 10,000 times during their lifetime — found that 42.4 percent of those studied reported at least one symptom of withdrawal, such as cravings, irritability, boredom, anxiety, or sleep disturbances when they abstained from use.

Not all of these users, however, resumed marijuana use as a result.

Gorelick said he expects marijuana-withdrawal syndrome to be included as a psychiatric disorder in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, due in 2012.